Rahul Gandhi expressed dismay at the "unfollowing" and asked MEA to take note

On Wednesday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi expressed "dismay" at the fact that US President Donald Trump's White House Twitter account unfollowed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind. "I am dismayed by the "unfollowing" of our president and prime minister by the White House. I urge the Ministry of External Affairs to take note."

The "unfollowing" drew reactions on social media in India, especially as media reports had earlier claimed that PM Modi was the only world leader followed by the official Twitter account of the Donald Trump White House. 

Now, the White House has explained the reason behind the action. The White House on Wednesday explained that its Twitter handle typically 'follows' the accounts of officials from host countries for a brief period during a presidential trip, to retweet their messages in support of the visit.

During President Donald Trump's visit to India in the last week of February, the official Twitter handle of the White House—@WhiteHouse—had started 'following' the accounts of President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister's office, the Indian Embassy in the US, the US Embassy in India and the US Ambassador to India, Ken Juster.

Early this week, the White House 'unfollowed' all these six Twitter handles.

"The White House Twitter account normally follows senior US government Twitter accounts, and others as appropriate. For example, during the time of a presidential visit, the account typically follows for a short time, the host country's officials to retweet their messages in support of the visit," a senior administration official told PTI on the condition of anonymity.

The official was responding to a question on the reasons for the White House 'following' and then 'unfollowing' the Twitter handles of President Kovind, PM Modi, the PMO and other Indian officials.